FACIAL GUA SHA IN DEPTH : WORKING WITH THE NECK
More helpful guidance and support for furthering your skin health with Chinese medicine at home
SANDRA LANSHIN CHIU, LAc
We're excited to announce our 2nd tutorial, featuring an in depth focus on working with the neck with gentle Gua Sha techniques. If you’re new to our tutorials or Facial Gua Sha we recommend you watch our first video where we show you all the basic steps of our recommended homecare routine.
Many people are surprised when they hear how much emphasis we place on working with the neck in our facial work. But if you understand how the body operates as a whole system - it makes complete sense. Your neck is an important pathway that shuttles vital nutrients up to feed your head and face, as well as circulate wastes down and out. To do this well, our neck must be supple and free of excess tension.
But in today's age of smartphone dependence and long hours bent over computers - who has a neck like that? Constant forward hunching over time creates tense holding patterns that eventually lead to extremely tight, tough and dense muscles and fascia. For many people who suffer from headaches, jaw tension and TMJ, sinus pressure and congestion, dizziness - this is often the culprit.
Esthetically, I have also found this causes common issues like the appearance of a double chin, sagging skin and jowls, loss of jawline definition. When the fascia and muscle are pulled tight and lose their full range of movement over time, the skin atop can appear out of place as with sagging jowls or "turkey neck" (I hate that term it's so derogatory but, sigh, we live in an overly self-critical culture and this is the language that comes out of it. I would prefer something like "neck skin out of harmony" but then no one would understand me).
Imagine the lining of a dress becomes pulled or snagged, the material that sits over it then becomes loose, baggy, and simply looks weird. This is similarly what happens to skin over chronically tight muscle and fascia. Many believe the hanging, drooping and loss of tone this causes the skin is the inevitabillity of aging, the dreaded loss of collagen. And so they look for a scientifically promising collagen boosting cream, or play with the idea of botox, surgery, fillers.
But, depending on how severe the issues is and how long it has existed, using techniques like Gua Sha, can be very helpful in releasing muscle and tissue tension - restoring them to proper form and function. Good circulation of blood, vital fluids and life force energy can then be returned to your skin and tissues. When done properly and regularly - this can lessen the appearance of the signs of "aging" so many dread.
Because the neck is such an important pathway, and one of the most common problem areas in the bodies of us modern folk, I focused this video on showing you a few of my favorite techniques for working with this area. Please remember to be gentle and use only light to medium pressure if you are not a bodyworker or healthcare professional. There are important arteries in our neck so you never want to strong pressure if you are not trained, or if you have chronic issues with blood pressure, heart condition.
As always this information is intended to be informational, and you must always check with your own doctor first if you have a health condition before following anyone's health advice - including mine.
Stay tuned to our Instagram if you have questions, I'm planning some Live Q&A's to answer any questions and provide more clarity and guidance on your Gua Sha practice and other questions you have about Chinese medicine and skin health.
A very special thanks to Debora Francis who directed, filmed and edited this video using only natural light and no filter!